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Microsoft Security Essentials vulnerability reminds that security risks are everywhere

Microsoft recently delivered a patch for its malware and antivirus tools, including Security Essentials, Windows Defender, MSRT, and Forefront -- its enterprise antivirus solution. The patch addresses a flaw in Microsoft's scanning engine which could allow an attacker who had a valid username and password to gain elevated rights on a system.

As is often the case with these flaws, the fact that the attacker has valid credentials is arguably a bigger problem than the vulnerability itself. However, there's an important takeaway: at any time, any program on your computer could be putting you at risk. Even your antivirus or anti-malware app.

It's important (and imperative) to keep your operating system and apps as up-to-date as possible. It also helps to know what other programs you can use to ensure your system is safe. Free Windows programs like Secunia PSI -- which scans your system for vulnerable programs -- and Returnil's System Safe -- which lets you complete roll back changes to your computer, including those made by malware -- can be a big help in locking down your system.

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